If you are ready to get serious about your health and add exercise to your routine, sometimes getting started can be intimidating. Knowing where to start will help you get into the game and better your body – and your life.
1) Keep hydrated – Your body need water before, during and after your workout. You lose a lot of water when you’re working out, and your body needs proper hydration to regulate your heart rate and body temperature. If you do not drink enough water, you could become dehydrated or experience muscle cramps.
2) Work out every day. That’s right – Every day. Don’t push yourself to the limit every day, but make exercise a part of your life by making it a daily habit. You can work on different areas on different days, keep in interesting, but do it every day. Otherwise, it can be tempting to not start up again after a break.
3) Eat before and after– Your body needs fuel to begin the workout, and replenishment afterwards. You should try to eat 1-2 hours prior to your workout. If you choose to workout first thing in the morning, make sure you have something in your stomach. Ideally, you’ll want some protein, coupled with a slow burning carbohydrate. After your workout, have a small snack, then a larger meal a few hour later.
4) Use variety. It’s easy to find one thing, like the treadmill, and get stuck on it because it’s comfortable for you. If you only do one thing, and only do one level of intensity, you aren’t going to progress or increase your fitness. Switch it up. Do cardio, then weights, then a class. Use your options to keep yourself from getting caught in your comfort zone.
5) Cardio really is important– Most beginners find cardio to be especially challenging. However, it is extremely important. Ideally, you should do cardio 3-5 times a week, for 30-60 minutes each time. Cardio is vital because it improves your heart health, boosts your metabolism, and gives your body the ability to recover faster from workouts than if you don’t regularly do cardio. One more tip: If your cardio workout feels “easy,” you need to work harder, because you aren’t getting those benefits.
6) Stretch when you’re done– Stretching is an essential part of working out. Stretching your muscles when they are warm and pliable helps to improve your circulation and flexibility, as well as keeping you from getting injured. Be sure to stretch prior to your workout as well.
7) Protein is your best snack– When you work out regularly, you may notice your appetite increase. However tempting it may be, don’t undo all your hard work by gorging on empty carbs. Eating a protein filled snack can curb your hunger for longer periods of time, as well as fueling your muscle recovery, ultimately contributing to your growing strength.
Don’t be afraid of jumping in and giving exercise a try. While exercise is difficult for most people who are just starting out, keep moving and keep trying. Before you know it, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your body, your health, and your attitude.
Photo credit: eccampbell / IWoman / CC BY-SA